In the video above Benedict Redgrove, a filmmaker and noted photographer, shows the amazing process it takes to create something as small and seemingly simple as a tennis ball. It shows the step-by-step process that each tennis ball goes through at the Wilson tennis ball factory. From the curing of the rubber, the formation of the ball, the yellow wool covering, brand labeling, and packaging in clear plastic tubes, they go through quite a journey before reaching store shelves.
“It shows the step-by-step process that each tennis ball goes through at the Wilson tennis ball factory.”
The number of workers and machines required to make something so often seen as unremarkable is astonishing. I never would have guessed it would take this many steps to create something so common, it brings to mind the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
This is what he had to say when he posted the video on Vimeo: “I was commissioned to make a film and shoot a set of images by ESPN for Wilson, to show the manufacturing process of their tennis balls for the US Open. We flew to the factory, shot the film and stills in one day then flew home.”
“Its an amazingly complex manufacture, requiring 24 different processes to make the final ball. It was hot, loud and the people who worked there, worked fast. So much beauty in each stage. I love the mechanics of how things are made, it fills me with great pleasure. I hope you enjoy the film.”
I can guarantee that you’ll never look at an ordinary tennis ball the same way.